(Minghui.org) A married couple from Dehui City, Jilin Province, was recently sentenced to prison for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline persecuted by the communist regime since 1999.

Both Mr. Sun Guichang and his wife, Ms. Xiao Yongfen, received seven years. Mr. Sun was sent to Gongzhuling Prison and Ms. Xiao is serving time at Jilin Women’s Prison. It was reported that Ms. Xiao has developed severe high blood pressure and diabetes.

The couple was arrested on September 24, 2017 by a group of plainclothes officers who arrived in an unmarked car. The officers ransacked their home, and confiscated their personal belongings worth more than 10,000 yuan, Falun Gong books, and 30,000 yuan in cash printed with Falun Gong related messages (Falun Gong practitioners have been using this method to raise awareness about the persecution under strict censorship of the communist regime).

Mr. Sun has since remained captive at Dehui City Detention Center. Ms. Xiao was released and put under house arrest the following day due to her health condition.

The police took Ms. Xiao to a hospital for a physical checkup on February 28, 2018, in an attempt to send her to the detention center. After the doctor found that her blood pressure was as high as 215 mmHg, the detention center refused to admit her. The police took her back home at around 10 p.m. that night.

The couple stood trial on May 11, 2018 at Dehui City Court. They argued that the Falun Gong books and materials confiscated from their home were for their spiritual practice and helping the public understand that the persecution was wrong. They emphasized that the books and materials caused no harm to anyone.

The presiding judge said that he didn't care how the couple used the materials, and that they were guilty as long as they admitted that those materials were theirs.

According to the couple's family, Mr. Sun was emaciated, lost several teeth and also suffered from hearing loss. He was perfectly healthy before the arrest. His family suspect that he was tortured at the detention center for not giving up his faith.

Mr. Sun was taken back to the detention center following the hearing, but Ms. Xiao was released on medical parole due to her high blood pressure, infections and ulcer around her right ankle caused by diabetes.

While the couple was still awaiting their verdicts, the police arrested Ms. Xiao on July 28 and sent her to a hospital in Changchun City for treatment. She was later brought back to Dehui and put in the same detention center as her husband.

Both Mr. Sun and Ms. Xiao have filed appeals.